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Phase 40: April to June 2009

This was a great moment for Walliamma, who was found by Michael Kreitmeir many years ago, neglected and half-dead in a earthen hovel. It is almost like a fairy tale. At the beginning of April, Walli was dressed for her own wedding. Next to Walli (right) is Sarda and Bawani (left) as well a sister of the groom (front left).
On the day of her wedding, Walli, dressed in a traditional red sari, comes back home to bid farewell. From now on her home where be where he husband lives. In the auditorium of the new school, everyone from Little Smile says goodbye to Walli.
Even 4 years and 4 months after the catastrophe, money is paid monthly to widows of the tsunami in Kalmunai. In this way the fishermen who received boats from Little Smile are able to live up to the agreement that they would share this "present" with the poor.
Like every year, the children participate in a Good Friday procession through the children's village. This year Marco Kreitmeir is also there who had come to visit over Easter with his mother.
This time the postal service in Sri Lanka made it right in time. Directly before the Easter vacation, a package arrived in the chidlren's village with Easter decorations. Lenka Rühle never forgets a Christmas or Easter, but even so, a package can sometimes be months in coming.
Evanangelin and Krishan show prodly and with patience the colorful Easter eggs. For two hours the 6 year old stood giggling behind the egg basket until the celebration was over and one of the Little Smile siblings had handed them each an Easter egg.
Shortly after Easter the time had come: the four Catholic girls (from the right) Anita, Bawani, Rebecca and Biola, celebrate in the children's village their first communion. And they do not celebrate alone, although Christians are a minority there. All the staff and children are present in the new school when the girls acknowledge with a "Yes" their beliefs.
A new phase in the life of children and in the relationship between Little Smile and the Catholic church in Sri Lanka:

Little Smile was long shunned by the Catholic priests due to Little Smile's tolerance and respect for other religions and philosophies. The new rector of the region in contrast celebrated on this day with the children and experienced that even the Buddhist and Hindu children in the village can be happy for and celebrate with the four girls.
In Buttala, where Little Smile has a hospital and a school for Ayurveda medicine and a center for widows, violence continues to be a problem. Shortly before Easter, two families were gruesomely murdered. Even shots were fired in the project from Little Smile. For security reasons, the hospital had to remain closed. Out of fear, many of the staff quit. Nobody knows if this violence has anything to do with the struggle of the government against the last groups of the rebel army.
For the first time in her 7-year-old life, Kawshaliya wears shoes. Before she also had never had such a pretty white dress on. And therefore it is for her and the 6 year old Virajh a very special moment when go to their first day of school accompanied by their Lokuthatha and the big sister, Sarda.
At the moment of the birth of Little Smile, all the children in the picture that were crowding around the cake had not yet been born. In May, the children's village turned 10 years old: 10 years in which so much has happened.
A large family celebrates an important birthday. 10 years ago the story of the children's village began with the construction of the first house for children. Girls who today live in "Lucky House" opened the festival with their dance.
But again and again, suffering knocks at the door of the children's village or one of the other homes of Little Smile.
Overjoyed this 7 year old Tamil girl holds on her first day her welcome present in her arms. Every child receives a doll or stuffed animal in order to share with a new friend their first time in Little Smile. For many of the children, just like Kawshaliya, this is the first toy to have.
Divia and Nilmini, a Tamil and Sinhalese, dance together. Each must beware of the movements of the other and react to them, each needs to agree on the next movement. Only in this manner can the dance take place. It is because of this that this traditional dance has become a symbol for the situation in Sri Lanka: only together can Sinhalese and Tamil build a new and better Sri Lanka.
To give herself, for three months of her life, for others, without ifs or buts. Again and again, young women, like Eva, come to the children's village to live, work, laugh, and then, when they need to go, leave a piece of themselves behind, take a part of Little Smile back, something that won't fit in a suitcase but only in large heart.
The German shephard, Rocky, puts in his efforts for understanding and shows the guests from the East Coast the best (and friendliest) side.
While outside the army and many Sinhalese were celebrating the military victory over the rebels, in Little Smile, a victory of the heart was taking place. For the first time in 3 years, the girls from the children's home in Palugamam could once again visit their friends in the children's village up in the mountains. Together, there was a large, colorful and laughing family.